Monkeys and Dolls: Would You Get a "Fake" Kid?

There are about 15,000 moms in the United States that have adopted baby monkeys to raise as kids. They diaper them, put them in baby clothes and high chairs, and even decorate nurseries for them so they can have their own rooms.

According to a segment on Primetime, the people that do the adopting are usually empty nesters-parents whose kids have grown and left home-and they do it to fill the void. And they don't leave them at home, they bring their baby monkeys with them wherever they go.

It reminds me of the women that treat real-looking dolls like babies. Called reborns, these dolls (at right) are designed to look and feel like real newborn babies. But they're made for adults not for children. Many women get one or collect several and treat them like real babies-dressing them in baby clothes (doll clothes don't fit), putting them in strollers or slings and walking in the park, carrying them around, and cuddling them.

The dolls can be quite expensive as far as dolls go, since they can cost in the hundreds or even thousands. But for some women these dolls fill a void created by not being able to have children, not being able to afford adoption, or the loss of a child. For others, they offer all the "good parts" of motherhood without the problems-dirty diapers, sleepless nights, saving for college.

"These dolls are very strange," says one CafeMom. "I don't see how a doll could fill a void for the loss of a child or inability to have a child. Counseling seems like a healthier and more productive alternative to me."

Dolls are harmless, but monkeys can be dangerous to you or those around you, as last week's sad chimpanzee story shows. (On the other hand, they're supposed to be smarter than babies!)

What do you think of both of these options? Would you ever get a reborn doll? Is raising a monkey the same thing as having a pet or is it something more?

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